The Girl in the Bird by Christine Talley is a mash-up of sci-fi and romance genres. However, the main focus remains on the relationships. The plot revolves around three female characters — Alice, Hildegarde, and Bess. The story begins with an introduction of SCA: Society for Creative Anachronism. This group creates many events, where people come dressed up in ancient apparels. Many battles are organized for the amusement of participants. Hildegarde, known as Alberta in SCA, loves fighting in the battles. Her boyfriend, Ron is also fond of SCA and its battles. Hildegarde is a divorced woman and is a mother of a 10-year-old boy, Bruce. The relationship of Hildegarde and Ron is a bit complicated due to her trust issues. Her best friend, Bess, is a nurse in real life and a chirurgeon in SCA. As a chirurgeon, she provides medical assistance to the residents of SCA camp.Bess is portrayed as an ugly lady, and she has lost her hope to find a man, who could love her in spite of her appearance. Her low self-esteem prevents her from observing love in the eyes of Jack; he is a blacksmith in the real life and a sword fighter in the make-believe world of SCA. He is aware of Bess’ outer appearance, but he is still drawn to her loving and caring nature, hopelessly. Jack is scared to confess her feelings to Bess as he thinks that she is smarter than him, and he has nothing to offer to her. Alice is a diabetic teenager. Insulin has become a part of her existence. In a quite dramatic way, she discovers her unique ability to be transported into the body of any bird. One day, while exploring the beauty of the camp through the eyes of a hawk, her brain connects to an alien named Zee. Although Alice is startled at first due to this weird connection, soon, she communicates with Zee. Through Zee, Alice comes to know that these aliens are observing planet earth. It is intriguing to read, what could be the reason of aliens to study humans for so many years?
The character of Bess is my favorite. She may not be beautiful, but her loving soul attracts everyone towards her. She has many true friends and a guy who wishes to devote his everything to please her. The author has delivered a hope of finding true love to all the ladies who consider themselves ugly. She has a sneaky way of conveying a message to the readers, which I loved. Through Hildegarde, she conveys the importance of trust, and through Zee, she delivers the message that we, humans, are moving towards the path of self-destruction. The importance of peace, love, and care is very beautifully intertwined in the plot. Each character, including aliens, is written very skillfully. I was able to connect to all the characters, except for Hildegarde. I believe, a flashback could have helped the readers to understand her trust issues in more depth.
The story progresses beautifully, but a little slow for my taste. The author’s love for SCA is quite evident throughout the read. From the perspective of a reader, the description of the battles may become a bit overwhelming. However, the story did not bore me. The detailed description of the lives of the characters was quite engaging. The narration style seemed a little animated at some points, though. The delivery of dialogues was well executed; however, the parts, where the author described the events to the readers, did not flow very smoothly. These parts seemed like a report instead of a storytelling. The story is fascinating; however, the execution could have been better.
All said and done, The Girl in the Bird is a good one time read. The message of humanity, peace, and love is delivered in not-so-obvious-manner, and that adds to the beauty of the author’s writing. I would recommend this book to the readers who admire a glimpse of sci-fi amidst a romantic story.
P.S. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.